March 31, 2014

Can't we think big about Connecticut's hospitals?

Instead of turning to for-profit hospital companies to pump money into a handful of Connecticut's nonprofit hospitals, the state ought to be thinking bigger.
What really needs to happen is for the state's nonprofit hospitals to stop competing with each other as if they were all little businesses and instead work together to do the job they were created for: to provide medical care for Connecticut's people.
The right models already exist elsewhere in America. Look no further than the Cleveland Clinics or the Mayo Clinic to find regional nonprofits that have created systems that offer top quality care for residents that are so good that people travel to them from across the world to get treatment.
Connecticut could follow suit.
There's nothing but leadership blocking the way for the state from creating a similar integrated health care network that would pull together community hospitals with sterling medical centers in Hartford and New Haven.
I can well understand that little hospitals like the one in Bristol are eyeing a possible buyout by a for-profit provider as one way to survive.
But it's not the only option.
Can't anybody with some vision at least try to push Connecticut to adopt the most successful health care models in the world before we turn the whole system into just another business? Even the most ardent capitalists understand that health care is different than selling hamburgers.

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Anonymous said...


Gee, Steve, nearly a full year goes by since this issue arose and I read, for the first time, what I suspected was a sensibility about one aspect of this issue you maintained --in silence--all along. I presume there are others.

But in the court of public opinion perception is everything. You know how often I observed how this discussion was one sided. That, to name just one---and it's the one you addressed here---that there are hundreds of individual narratives supporting the case for the non profit model throughout the U.S.

Though, " curiously " not once was an expert nor proponent of the non profit model ever sought out to hear that side of the equation.Certainly not in either Bristol newspaper daily and weekly. I can't count the times this writer attempted as a layman. But a layman fairly well versed on the issue.

And here you are, the point man for politics and all things touching on the political, relegated to expressing this potent POV...on a blog that just a handful of fervent political
" aficionados " follow and, perhaps, a dozen or so lurkers in the background.

It's utterly frustrating to all trying to stem the tide when attempting to get this one uber tangential part of the equation out in the marketplace of public opinion. I can only imagine how you must feel.

A heart felt thank you, though, for going this far.

Frank Kramer
Bristol, CT

Mary Rydingsward said...

Great idea, Steve. Legislators ought to care about the health of our people. For that matter, businesses ought to sincerely care about the health of their workers. I know many local Bristol businesses that do care about the health of their workers - and their workers' families health, whom these local businesses understand are the consumers and future workers for Bristol. However, where corporate America is concerned, healthcare for their workers doesn't fit their business model. They view human beings as a commodity they input to get their output. America needs to get corporations out of healthcare! Thank you for posting this idea, Steve.

Steve Collins said...

@Frank -- Bristol Hospital is not my beat. But the reality is that a small paper anywhere, every one of them already dealing with a staff that's been thinned out for years, is hardly in a position to explore thoroughly something as complex as the proposal to sell the hospital to a for-profit company.